a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were numerous reports that armed groups aligned with the Government of National Unity (GNU), as well as with the Libyan National Army (LNA) and other nonstate actors, including foreign fighters and mercenaries, committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. In October the Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FMM) on Libya reported that state agents or affiliates routinely used extrajudicial killings as a means of punishment or silencing “individuals suspected of involvement in serious human rights violations.” The Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, and Office of the Attorney General bore responsibility for investigating such abuses and pursuing prosecutions but were either unable or unwilling to do so in most cases due to severe resource or political constraints.
Alliances, sometimes temporary, among government officials, nonstate actors, and former or active officers in the armed forces participating in extralegal campaigns made it difficult to ascertain the role of the government in attacks by armed groups.
On January 6, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported the death of a 19-year-old Somali refugee in Tripoli. Prior to the man’s death, he had been held in a human smuggling camp in Bani Walid and subjected to repeated torture and abuse by his captors. On January 14, international and domestic human rights organizations documented the death of a 21-year-old Egyptian migrant in al-Qa’arah, east of Tobruk. His body bore signs of torture, and his hands and legs were burned. Witnesses reported he was detained in a prison for migrant smugglers and died on January 11.
On January 20, local authorities in Benghazi found two bodies with gunshot wounds to the head in the city’s downtown area. Their hands were tied behind their backs, and they bore signs of torture. It was not clear who was responsible for the killings.
On April 1, domestic and international human rights organizations reported a 37-year-old civilian was shot and killed as he passed by a checkpoint manned by the Ministry of Defense’s 444th Brigade near his home in Tripoli. That same month, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reported guards at the Tripoli Gathering and Return Center, unofficially known as the al-Mabani migrant detention center, fired shots indiscriminately into two holding cells, killing one migrant and injuring two others.
On June 17, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) reported that guards at the Ministry of Interior’s Department to Combat Illegal Migration (DCIM)-operated Abu Rashada detention center shot and killed four migrants and injured a number of others. On June 22, MSF suspended its operations at al-Mabani and Abu Salim detention centers in Tripoli. MSF cited two incidents on June 3 and 13 at Abu Salim where guards indiscriminately opened fire on detainees, killing at least seven individuals and injuring several others, and repeated cases of human rights abuses and inhuman conditions at both facilities as motivating factors for the decision.
On June 27, the body of a civilian bearing signs of torture was delivered to a local hospital in Tripoli. The GNU-aligned al-Dhaman Brigade had reportedly kidnapped the individual on June 1 in the Qasr al-Qarabouli area of Tripoli. In November at least four mass graves were discovered in Tarhouna and in areas of southern Tripoli, which had been under the control of LNA-aligned forces, including the Kaniyat militia, from April 2019 until June 2020. According to data from Libya’s General Authority for the Search and Identification of Missing Persons (GASIMP), the remains of at least 200 persons, including women and children, had been uncovered as of late November. In March, GASIMP had revealed it had a list of 3,650 missing persons throughout the country, including 350 individuals in Tarhouna. According to GASIMP officials, their investigation into these mass graves continued.
In August the Libyan Red Crescent discovered the bodies of six migrants in an area known for human smuggling activity in Wadi Zamzam, in the central region of the country. According to an October 12 report from the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and the Libya Platform (LP), between January and June no fewer than 25 extrajudicial killings took place across the country. In the absence of an effective judicial and security apparatus, most killings were not investigated.
In December the EU imposed sanctions on the Wagner Group, a paramilitary force linked to Russia and supporting the LNA, as well as eight individuals and three entities connected to it, after the FFM’s October report concluded that there were “reasonable grounds to believe that Wagner personnel may have committed the war crime of murder.” The EU stated that Wagner had “recruited, trained and sent private military operatives to conflict zones around the world to fuel violence, loot natural resources and intimidate civilians in violation of international law, including international human rights law.”
GNU- and LNA-aligned armed groups, other nonstate armed groups, criminal gangs, and tribal groups committed an unknown number of forced disappearances (see section 1.g.). The GNU made few effective efforts to prevent, investigate, or penalize forced disappearances.
The October, CIHRS-LP reported 33 enforced disappearances during the first six months of the year, attributing four of them to the GNU and its affiliates, 13 to the LNA, and two to ISIS. Of the other disappearances, 14 could not be attributed to any specific group.
In August, UNSMIL expressed concern regarding the number of abductions and enforced disappearances in towns and cities across the country conducted by armed groups with impunity. Migrants, refugees, and other foreign nationals were especially vulnerable to kidnapping. UNSMIL received reports that hundreds of migrants and refugees intercepted or rescued at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard went missing after disembarking at Libyan ports, and it was possible they were seized by armed groups engaged in human trafficking or smuggling. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that between January and early December, 807 migrants and refugees were confirmed missing at sea.
July 17 marked the two-year anniversary of the high-profile disappearance of member of parliament Siham Sergiwa, who was abducted from her home shortly after criticizing the LNA’s Tripoli offensive in a television interview. Her whereabouts remained unknown at year’s end.
Domestic and international human rights organizations reported that dozens of civil society activists, politicians, judges, and journalists were forcibly disappeared by both western and eastern Libyan security services or armed groups and detained for making comments or pursuing activities perceived as disloyal to the GNU or LNA. On March 27, human rights activist Jamal Mohammed Adas disappeared in Tripoli. His whereabouts remained unknown. On May 31, LNA-aligned security services allegedly kidnapped the head of the Libyan Red Crescent in Ajdabiya, activist Mansour Mohamed Atti al-Maghrabi, in the eastern region of the country. Numerous domestic and international human rights organizations called for his release. On August 5, a commander of the LNA’s 302 Brigade reportedly confirmed that al-Maghrabi was being held in an unspecified LNA prison. On August 2, unidentified armed men abducted Ridha al-Fraitis, chief of staff for the first deputy prime minister, and a colleague. On August 10, UNSMIL released a statement condemning the abduction. On August 17, Fraitis and his colleague were reportedly released.
Many disappearances that occurred during the Qadhafi regime, the 2011 revolution, and the postrevolutionary period remained uninvestigated. Due to years of conflict, a weak judicial system, and legal ambiguity regarding amnesty for revolutionary forces, authorities made no appreciable progress in resolving high-profile cases. Officials engaged in documenting missing persons, recovering human remains, and reunifying families reported being underfunded. The International Commission on Missing Persons estimated there were between 10,000 and 20,000 missing persons in the country dating back to the Qadhafi era.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Although the 2011 Constitutional Declaration and postrevolutionary legislation prohibit such practices, credible sources indicated personnel operating both government and extralegal prisons and detention centers tortured detainees (see section 1.g.). While judicial police controlled some facilities, the GNU relied on armed groups to manage prisons and detention facilities. Armed groups, not police, initiated arrests in many instances. An unknown number of individuals were held without judicial authorization in other facilities nominally controlled by the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Defense, or in extralegal facilities controlled by GNU-affiliated armed groups, LNA-affiliated armed groups, and other nonstate actors. Treatment varied from facility to facility and typically was worst at the time of arrest. There were reports of cruel and degrading treatment in government and extralegal facilities, including beatings, administration of electric shocks, burns, and rape. In many instances this torture was reportedly initiated to extort payments from detainees’ families.
In addition to individuals held in the criminal justice system, many refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants were held in migrant detention centers nominally controlled by the DCIM. An unknown number of other refugees and migrants were held in extralegal detention facilities, such as smugglers’ camps. The criminal and nonstate armed groups controlling these facilities routinely tortured and abused detainees, subjecting them to arbitrary killings, rape and sexual violence, beatings, forced labor, and deprivation of food and water, according to dozens of testimonies shared with international aid agencies and human rights groups.
On January 14, domestic human rights organizations and media reported security forces in the eastern city of al-Bardi rescued 14 Egyptian migrants from a prison that human traffickers controlled. The migrants said their captors had tortured them. On February 21, local authorities in al-Kufra raided a secret prison operated by human traffickers and freed at least 156 Somali, Eritrean, and Sudanese migrants and refugees. Some of the rescued migrants and refugees reportedly suffered abuse and torture, were malnourished, and required medical attention.
In June, UNSMIL documented the plight of five Somali teenage girls detained at the DCIM-operated Shara al-Zawiya migrant detention center, where guards repeatedly attacked and sexually assaulted them. At least two of the girls reportedly attempted suicide as a result of the repeated abuse. On July 15, authorities released the girls into UNHCR’s care. In August, UNSMIL reported guards at the DCIM-operated Abu Issa detention center in Zawiyah sexually abused and exploited boys and men.
UNSMIL also verified reports of rape and sexual violence against female prisoners in the eastern region, including the internal security section of the Kuwayfiyah prison in Benghazi.
The FFM noted in its October report to the UN Human Rights Council that migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, and prisoners were particularly at risk of sexual violence. The FFM stated it found credible indications that government actors and militias members also used sexual violence as a subjugation or humiliation tool to silence critics and those appearing to challenge social norms or acceptable gender roles. For example, the FFM stated it received several reports that rights activists were abducted and subjected to sexual violence to deter their participation in public life. The FFM also reported cases of beatings and rape of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Impunity was a significant problem in the security forces. The government took limited steps to investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses and acts of corruption within its area of reach; however, its limited resources, as well as political considerations, reduced its ability and willingness to prosecute and punish perpetrators.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Prisons and detention facilities were often overcrowded, and conditions were harsh and life threatening, falling well short of international standards. Many prisons and detention centers were outside GNU control (see section 1.g.).
Physical Conditions: Prisons remained overcrowded, needed infrastructural repairs, suffered from poor ventilation, lacked adequate hygiene facilities, and experienced power and water outages. Prisons lacked clean drinking water and served low-quality food. UN agencies reported malnutrition was a risk in some prisons and detention centers, notably at DCIM facilities that did not receive a food budget.
As of August, UNSMIL estimated there were 12,300 persons detained in 27 facilities under Ministry of Justice oversight. As of September the IOM estimated there were 4,564 persons detained in DCIM facilities and potentially thousands of other migrants held in extralegal and informal facilities.
In addition to the Tripoli-based Judicial Police Authority, which the GNU tasked to run the prison system, armed groups affiliated with the Ministries of Interior and Defense, as well as with the LNA and other rival eastern security forces, operated prisons and detention facilities. The ratio of detainees and prisoners to guards varied significantly during the year. Monitoring and training of prison staff by international organizations remained largely suspended, although training of judicial police continued.
Communicable diseases, including tuberculosis, scabies, and HIV/AIDS, affected detainees in some prisons and detention centers. Most prisons lacked functioning health units, and inmates depended on family members for medicine. Inmates needing medical attention were sometimes transferred to public hospitals within the jurisdiction of whichever police unit or militia controlled the prison; these transfers often depended on the availability of private vehicles, as most prisons lacked ambulances.
On May 23, the Ministry of Justice announced the launch of a coronavirus vaccination campaign within prisons. Inmates with chronic diseases were given first priority, and the government announced the campaign would expand to include the rest of the prison population.
There was no centralized record keeping. There were reportedly no functioning juvenile facilities in the country, and authorities held juveniles in adult prisons, although sometimes in separate sections.
UNSMIL estimated 400 women were detained in prisons as of September. Female prisoners faced conditions that fell well short of international minimum standards. Although there were often separate facilities for men and women, women remained almost universally guarded by male prison guards. UNSMIL received numerous reports of women subjected to forced prostitution in prisons or detention facilities in conditions that amounted to sexual slavery.
In May the LNA reportedly released more than 200 detainees from the Green Mountains Branch’s Gernada Military Prison in the eastern city of al-Bayda. There were an estimated 1,207 prisoners from Derna held in Gernada Prison due to their opposition to the LNA. Also in May the Ministry of Justice released 78 prisoners who were arrested during the civil conflict and detained in al-Jadeda Prison in Tripoli.
According to international and national migration advocates, migrant detention centers suffered from massive overcrowding, poor sanitation, lack of access to medical care, food shortages, and significant disregard for the protection of detainees, including allegations of unlawful killing, sexual violence, and forced labor. As of September, UNHCR and the IOM estimated 25 percent of migrants and refugees held in DCIM detention centers were minors. A large number of migrant and refugee detainees were held in extralegal facilities, although numbers were unknown. There were numerous anecdotal reports that officials, nonstate armed groups, and criminal gangs moved migrants through a network of government and extralegal detention facilities with little monitoring by the government or international organizations.
As of August the government reported to UN agencies that it had released nearly 3,500 persons from Ministry of Justice prisons since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce overcrowding and minimize possible vectors for the spread of the virus. The ministry reportedly prioritized the release of persons who had already served more than half their sentences. While international human rights organizations welcomed the move, they noted that the vast majority of persons held in prisons and detention facilities were in pretrial detention. These groups called on the GNU to immediately release vulnerable inmates in pretrial detention, including women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. UNSMIL maintained that all migrant detention facilities should be closed and the detainees released.
Administration: There was no credible information available regarding whether authorities conducted investigations of credible allegations of mistreatment or allowed prisoners and detainees access to visitor or religious observance. There was no information available on prisoners’ access to religious observance.
Independent Monitoring: Multiple independent monitoring organizations reported difficulties gaining access to prison and detention facilities, particularly those in the east. The GNU permitted some independent monitoring by international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, but controlled these movements tightly. UN and international aid organization sources reported that DCIM officials repeatedly denied access requests. The COVID-19 pandemic created further barriers to humanitarian access. Although some international organizations received permission to visit migrant detention facilities during the year, the responsiveness of GNU authorities and level of access varied widely from visit to visit. As of September, UNHCR and its partners had conducted 141 visits to DCIM facilities to administer aid and register refugees and asylum seekers.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
There were continued reports by UNSMIL and human rights groups of prolonged and arbitrary detention for persons held in prisons and detention facilities. Human Rights Watch stated that a large but indeterminate number of persons held in such prisons and detention centers were arbitrarily detained for periods exceeding one year.
Nonstate actors detained and held persons arbitrarily and without legal authority in authorized and unauthorized facilities, including unknown locations, for extended periods and without legal charges.
The prerevolutionary criminal code remains in effect. It establishes procedures for pretrial detention and prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, but these procedures were often not enforced. The government had weak control over police and GNU-aligned armed groups providing internal security, and some armed groups carried out illegal and arbitrary detentions unimpeded. The low level of international monitoring meant that there were no reliable statistics on the number of arbitrary detentions.
Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees:
The law stipulates an arrest warrant is required, but authorities may detain persons without charge for as long as six days and may renew detention for up to three months, provided there is “reasonable evidence.” The law also specifies authorities must inform detainees of the charges against them and have a detainee appear before a judicial authority every 30 days to renew a detention order. The law gives the government power to detain persons for up to two months if considered a “threat to public security or stability” based on their “previous actions or affiliation with an official or unofficial apparatus or tool of the former regime.”
Although the 2011 Constitutional Declaration recognizes the right to counsel, most detainees did not have access to bail or a lawyer. Government authorities and armed groups held detainees incommunicado for unlimited periods in official and unofficial detention centers.
Arbitrary Arrest: Authorities frequently ignored or were unable to enforce the provisions of the criminal code prohibiting arbitrary arrest and detention. Various GNU-aligned and nonstate armed groups arbitrarily arrested and detained persons throughout the year. On March 25, LNA-aligned security forces arrested Hanin al-Abdali, daughter of slain lawyer Hanane al-Barassi, in downtown Benghazi on allegations of involvement in the killing that same month of an LNA brigade commander, Mahmoud al-Werfalli. Human rights groups reported that she was arrested shortly after appearing live on social media to discuss the circumstances of her mother’s killing and who she believed was responsible for it.
The FFM investigated several official and unofficial detention facilities, including GNU’s Mitiga and Ghniwa detention facilities in Tripoli and the LNA’s Tarek bin Ziyad detention facility in Benghazi. The FFM determined that individuals considered to be a threat to government leadership or to the interests and ideologies of militias were detained in these facilities. Most prisoners were never charged, and the FFM documented several cases of sexual violence, torture, unsanitary conditions, denial of medical care, and summary executions in these facilities.
In August, UNSMIL reported that individuals, including children, were detained without legal basis in Benghazi. These individuals were mainly held at military detention facilities, which included Tariq bin Ziyad, Kuwayfiyah, and Gernada, according to UNSMIL.
Throughout the year UNICEF reported that authorities continued to arbitrarily detain migrant children in detention centers in and around Tripoli. These children lacked access to legal assistance, due process, and basic protection and health services, according to UNICEF.
Pretrial Detention: While authorities must order detention for a specific period not exceeding 90 days, an ambiguity in the language of the law permitting judges to renew the detention period if the suspect is of “interest to the investigation” resulted in extended pretrial detentions. In addition limited resources and court capacity caused a severe backlog of cases. UNSMIL estimated that 41 percent of persons detained in Ministry of Justice prisons were in pretrial detention. According to international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), many of these detainees were held for periods longer than the sentences for the minor crimes they allegedly committed. The Ministry of Justice was working to improve practices by training the judicial police on international standards for pretrial detention. The number of persons held in pretrial detention in Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, and extralegal detention facilities was not publicly known.
Some individuals detained during the 2011 revolution remained in custody, mostly in facilities in the west. International NGOs called for the release of detainees held for petty charges to mitigate overcrowding and COVID-19 virus transmission risk in prisons.
Armed groups held most of their detainees without charge and outside the government’s authority. With control of the security environment divided among various armed groups and a largely nonfunctioning judiciary, circumstances prevented most of these detainees from accessing a review process.
Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: The law allows a detained suspect to challenge pretrial detention before the prosecutor and a magistrate judge. If the prosecutor does not order release, the detained person may appeal to the magistrate judge. If the magistrate judge orders continued detention following review of the prosecutor’s request, and despite the detainee’s challenge, there is no further right to appeal the assigned detention order. A breakdown in the court system, intimidation of judges, and difficulties in securely transporting prisoners to the courts effectively limited detainee access to the courts. For persons held in migrant detention facilities, there was no access to immigration courts or due process.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The 2011 Constitutional Declaration provides for an independent judiciary and stipulates every person has a right of recourse to the judicial system. Nonetheless, thousands of detainees lacked access to lawyers and information concerning the charges against them. In some cases trials were held without public hearings. Judges and prosecutors, facing threats, intimidation, violence, and lack of resources, cited concerns regarding the overall lack of security in and around the courts in various parts of the country, further hindering the rule of law. Civilian and military courts operated sporadically depending on local security conditions. Court proceedings were limited in areas still recovering from previous fighting and in the country’s south.
UNSMIL reported that it documented several cases, especially in the east, in which military judicial authorities tried cases normally under the jurisdiction of civilian courts; according to UNSMIL, these trials did not meet international standards. UNSMIL also received reports of the unlawful deprivation of liberty and the issuance of sentences by courts operating outside national and international legal confines.
The 2011 Constitutional Declaration provides for the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence, and the right to legal counsel, provided at public expense for the indigent. Government and nonstate actors did not respect these standards. There were multiple reports of individuals denied fair and public trials, choice of attorney, language interpretation, the ability to confront witnesses, protection against forced testimony or confessions, and the right to appeal.
According to reports from international and domestic NGOs, arbitrary detention and torture by armed groups, including those operating nominally under government oversight, contributed to a climate of lawlessness that made fair trials elusive. Armed groups and families of the victims or the accused regularly threatened lawyers, judges, and prosecutors.
Amid threats, intimidation, and violence against the judiciary, the GNU did not take steps to screen detainees systematically for prosecution or release. The courts were more prone to process civil cases, which were less likely to invite retaliation, although capacity was limited due to a lack of judges and administrators.
Political Prisoners and Detainees
Armed groups, some of which were nominally under GNU authority, held persons on political grounds, particularly former Qadhafi regime officials and others accused of subverting the 2011 revolution, in a variety of temporary facilities.
Due to the lack of international monitoring, there were no reliable statistics on the number of political prisoners.
Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies
The 2011 Constitutional Declaration provides for the right of citizens to have recourse to the judiciary. The judicial system did not have the capacity to provide citizens with access to civil remedies for human rights abuses. The law provides for fact-finding, accountability, and reparations for victims but was not implemented. Courts did process civil, administrative, family, commercial, and land and property law matters. Lack of security and intimidation by armed groups challenged the ability of authorities to enforce judgements.
Impunity for the state and for armed groups also exists in law. Even if a court acquits a person detained by an armed group, that person has no right to initiate a criminal or civil complaint against the state or the armed group unless “fabricated or mendacious” allegations caused the detention.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The 2011 Constitutional Declaration considers correspondence, telephone conversations, and other forms of communication inviolable unless access, collection, or use is authorized by a court order. Nonetheless, reports in the news and on social media indicated GNU-aligned groups violated these prohibitions by monitoring communications without judicial authorization, imposing roadside checks, and entering private homes.
Domestic human rights organizations continued to protest authorities’ searches of cell phones, tablets, and laptops at roadside checkpoints, airports, and border crossings. These organizations noted the practice was widespread across both western and eastern regions of the country as a means to target activists, lawyers, media professionals, bloggers, and migrants.
Invasion of privacy left citizens vulnerable to targeted attacks based on political affiliation, ideology, and identity. Extrajudicial punishment extended to targets’ family members and tribes. Armed groups arbitrarily entered, seized, or destroyed private property with impunity.
g. Conflict-related Abuses
Civil society and media reports documented abuses by GNU-aligned groups, LNA-aligned groups, nonstate groups, foreign actors including mercenaries from various countries, and terrorist organizations. Conflict-related abuses committed by armed groups reportedly included killings, indiscriminate attacks on civilians, kidnapping, arbitrary detention, and torture.
Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, son of former leader Muammar Qadhafi, remained subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant to answer allegations of crimes against humanity in an investigation authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1970. On December 12, the ICC called for international cooperation in arresting and transferring Saif al-Islam to the court. The indictment against Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, a commander in the LNA’s al-Saiga Brigade, had not been withdrawn by year’s end despite credible reports of his killing on March 24. On February 12, al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, a former head of the Internal Security Agency of Libya who was subject to an arrest warrant in 2017 for crimes against humanity and war crimes including torture, reportedly died in Cairo, Egypt. The ICC called upon Egyptian authorities to promptly investigate the reported death and to provide the relevant information to the ICC.
Killings: There were numerous reports that GNU-aligned groups, LNA-aligned groups, foreign actors and mercenaries, and nonstate actors committed arbitrary and unlawful killings of civilians (see section 1.a.).
There were reports of communal violence between ethnic and tribal groups. In October the FFM reported that tensions between the Ahali and Tebu communities in the south, which culminated in violent clashes in 2019, continued. An indeterminate number of civilians were killed and others injured in clashes between tribal and ethnic groups in the south.
Abductions: GNU-aligned groups, LNA-aligned groups, and other armed groups were responsible for the disappearance of civilians, although few details were available (see section 1.b.). Kidnappings targeted activists, journalists, government officials, migrants, and refugees. Kidnappings for ransom, including of migrants and other foreign workers, remained a frequent occurrence in many cities.
Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Guards at both government and extralegal detention centers tortured prisoners, although the law prohibits torture. The December midterm report of the UN Panel of Experts, a body established pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) concerning Libya, identified multiple instances of torture and inhuman treatment committed by members of the Ministry of Interior’s Special Deterrence Force at the Mitiga detention facility in Tripoli. The panel also cited cases in detention facilities under the authority of or affiliated with the LNA.
Child Soldiers: In June a local monitoring and reporting mechanism for child soldiers verified that a GNU-affiliated militia in the west recruited a 15-year-old boy to fight on its behalf starting in 2019. Reports indicated the child left the militia and returned home between January and June. There were no reports of child recruitment and use by armed groups affiliated with the GNU, LNA, and other nonstate actors. Although government policy required verification recruits were age 18 or older, nonstate armed groups did not have formal policies prohibiting the practice. The GNU did not make credible efforts to investigate or punish recruitment or use of child soldiers.
There were reports that Sudanese and Chadian mercenary groups in the south also engaged in the recruitment or use of children.
See the Department of State’s annual Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/.